Bristol Preview Part III Exhibitors

First of all let me just say there is nooooo way the following mentions are going to come anywhere close to catching all the tables that will make an impression on me this weekend. Last year (my first) was full of surprises and the chance to talk to people who displayed both talent and enthusiasm, and that in itself is both rewarding and inspiring.

By the way my biggest tip for the weekend is talk to as many people as possible, or maybe more accurately LISTEN to as many people as possible. Ask for advice, ask how they started, how they got to where they are (in the ‘industry’, not in Bristol!) and just as important ask who they should make a point of listening to or which titles to make sure you pick up. Most of these guys have been around the scene for a long time and it’s a community where they all know each other. And I should also say that this advice holds true of the guests as well as the exhibitors especially when you meet them in the main hall. John Higgins, Ben Willsher and Patrick Goddard seemed to have a lot of time for everyone and they certainly each gave us some sage advice and even followed up with promised emails.

Right, back to the task at hand. First of all are the triple A star exhibitors that I plan to make a beeline for. Disconnected published the best looking comic that I picked up last year and I need to get my hands on the anthologies Disconnected Vol 2 and How To Kill Bears. The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel is helmed by Owen Watts. Last year Owen was selling Dr WTF! and he was an exhibitor who was helpful, friendly and to me really stood as the model citizen of the small press community…. and I didn’t buy his comic so I owe him! Now, I didn’t buy his comic because I’m not a committed Whovian and believed Dr WTF! would just leave me confused. In hindsight I’m sure I was wrong, but I have no such qualms about the Psychedelic Journal and it’s right at the top of my shopping list.


The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel

Now for the titles I’m intrigued by.

Lou Scannon
To quote Small Press Big Mouth: issue 5 is “as funny as Aliens and as scary as Red Dwarf”, however they liked it, Lou has a sizable reputation and with issue 5 being an Alien/Aliens homage it’ll be right up my street.

Apparently the age of superheroes ended 20 years ago, but when Casey develops powers the world considers her too big a threat and seeks to eliminate her. Worth a look I think!

The Pride
A team of LGBTQ superheroes. If this serious and handles the issues as I’d hope then this is on my list.

Zombies, gore and talking monkey as a life partner, and set in the South Wales valleys. Marvel just don’t have the guts to do stuff like that!

Jon Lock Comics
All I read about Jon Lock is that he is a God among mortals in the small press scene. I need to find his table.

If I remember rightly, Small Press Big Mouth liked this a lot, so I intend to follow their lead.

I’m going to group the next four together simply because they seem to offer a collections of product and projects and I’d like to see what they offer and have to say. This is simply for our own benefit as I wonder if they have room for more writers!!

Inspired Comics

Kult Creations

Orang Utan Comics

Deadstar Publishing


Bristol Preview Part II Guests

There are a mass of big names on the Bristol guest list with the Special Guest label being applied to David Lloyd and Ian Gibson, however I think there’s a case that there are a number of others that can be considered special too.

I imagine that the organisers must be very pleased to again see Mark Buckingham of Marvelman and Fables fame. But Vertigo’s Executive Editor Shelly Bond must be a bit of a coup. And they’re not letting her have an easy time either. She’s reviewing portfolios on both days as well as appearing with Mark for a Vertigo Q&A.

However from my point of view below are the guests I’m hoping to hear from, talk to or obtain signatures or artwork from. There are plenty of others who should have made this list but perhaps I’ve missed their announcement – sorry, if you’re one of them!

(BTW these are no particular order!!)

Ian Gibson

Henry Flint

Michael Carroll

Rob Williams

Boo Cook

Ben Willsher

John Higgins

Jim Alexander

Bristol Preview Part I Events Addendum – The Charon Continuum

An interesting micro-talk has been added to the event schedule since my initial preview post.

On Saturday at 3.30 there will be a micro-talk describing The Charon Continuum. Continuum creator Dominic Archer will explain more about the project, but from I can gather they are looking to create a community-owned universe that all sorts of creatives can work in.

What interests me with this idea is that my view of space-opera sci-fi is based on Harry Harrison, Star Wars, Strontium Dog and the RPG Star Frontiers. Trying to write in a universe like that does seem to suggest you need to lock down and define some of this stuff before you can worry about your storyline. This may sound like an excuse to not get started or a beautifully coloured revision plan that takes longer to produce than you have time to revise (been there, done that, though in my day it was on paper not in Excel!). However does your universe use hyperspace, FTL, stasis (a la Aliens), warp speed or something else? Are there multiple intelligent alien species (Star Wars), just a handful (Star Trek), or are they all descendants of human colonists (Aliens)? Is there a federation vs the bad guys (Star Trek) or are the bad guys in charge (Star Wars)? Are there droids like Star Wars? Is there a force? Laser blasters, ion cannons or gauss rifles? Are you starting to see what I mean?

However in a community you can create a lot of this a lot quicker as well as been influenced and inspired by others. Of course The Charon Continuum may not be anything like the multiple references I made above, but if we share a similar vision it may be an interesting project to contribute to.

Find a better description of what they’re attempting to do at

Bristol Preview Part I Events

In just one week we’ll be on our way home from the first day of the Bristol Comic Expo. So which of the panels and presentations do I have the highest hopes for? These are my top three:

1. 2000AD Mega Panel (Saturday, 5pm)

Anyone surprised this is my no. 1?!? To quote the expo’s own blurb:

“Once again compered by the lovely Iz McAuliffe & Stacey Whittle and featuring Ian Gibson, Michael Carroll, David Hine, Boo Cook, Mike Collins, Rob Williams, Ben Willsher, Henry Flint, David Roach & John Higgins (and maybe more to come!) ”

2. Writing workshop by Jim Alexander (day and time TBC)

This should be invaluable info from a pro who’s written for 2000ad (Calhab Justice, Pandora and O’Rork), DC (Birds of Prey, Batman) and Marvel (Marvel Masterpieces).

Jim will walk “us through the process and finer points of putting together a successful storyline”.

3. An Audience with Ian Gibson (Sunday 1pm)

A chance to hear from “UK comics legend Ian Gibson about his 35 years in the industry, his current projects and where he sees the future of comics heading”.

Ian is best known as THE artist for Halo Jones and Robo Hunter, plus one of the iconic original artists of Dredd.

Also worth a mention is the DC / Vertigo Q & A with Shelly Bond and Mark Buckingham on Saturday at 2pm. Shelly Bond is Executive Editor of the Vertigo imprint, and Mark Buckingham is best known for his work on Marvelman and Fables.

Free Comic Book Day at Atomic Comics and Games


A big thank you to Atomic Comics and Games in Yeovil for putting on a huge Free Comic Book Day event.

My two boys and I were there at 9.30 thinking we’d be the only ones, yet the place was packed already!

We were greeted with the offer of a free cake as soon as we walked in, then made our way through the other families to the FCBD table, and what a selection. Easily over 20 titles, maybe even 30.

Now the deal at Atomic was a free book for all, but if you came in fancy dress you got a second, so my two boys were dressed as a Jedi and Batman. At this point they were already struggling to decide what to pick when we were pointed to another table with another 12+ titles, with more on the rack alongside and even more on the counter. If Atomic didn’t have 70 different titles it must have been close.

So by this point confusion was starting to set in and each now also had a balloon and had had their picture taken, however we got some focus and the oldest chose a Superman book and Dragon Ball Z Kai (?!?), and the youngest went for a Batman cartoon title and one from the Turtles cartoon.

And (and this is really the point) they both read all the way home in the car and then sat and read when they got home, and for the youngest to sit still and read, well, that’s unheard of, so I’m especially pleased with that.

Atomic also deserve a mention for the charity they are supporting today. They’re raffling off comics and handing out additional FCBD issues to people who donate. They’re going to use what they raise to buy as many comics as they can at cost price and donate them to Yeovil District Hospital. A great idea, and I was more than happy to contribute especially in exchange for Infinity by Jonathan Hickman.

And in case you’re wondering my free FCBD title was of course ….. 2000AD.

And so once again thanks to Atomic and if you ever get the chance drop in and see them and tell ’em I sent ya!

No more Lucas Arts

I was greatly saddened to hear the news that LucasArts would be shutting there doors, to no longer develop their own games but instead sell out the licenses to other studios.

Not only did they make some brilliant games they had some of the sharpest and wittiest writing in gaming, games such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle had me hooked from the get go and I will also love them for that. A pity.

In other news (both game related, seem to be in that mood this morning) these articles are worth a read:

Why Aren’t Video Game Actors treated like Stars?

How a game that never was almost tore Halfbrick apart



Breaking New Ground



We’re very much still in the early stages of writing comics, learning a lot and exploring what we can do, but it’s all fairly straight forward so far, nice light stories which are fun to write. It’s always enlightening to come across people pushing their field, be it writing, film or gaming to do new things.

Which is when I came across this it was worth shouting about; That Dragon, Cancer.

This is a brave and difficult ‘game’ to create, which really shows the new and interesting ways that the gaming medium can be used to explore difficult and sometimes hopeless human realities.

I’m not sure I’d actually want to try it, but I feel I probably would and the creator, Ryan Greene, has my full respect for trying to create something that might give some peace or a positive message from the most personal of subjects.

Gaming has a unique ability, unlike any other medium, where you can become fully immersed in the experience, and it’s the sign of a maturing field that it’s starting to be used to properly explore aspects of the human psyche.

The article itself is also well written and you can tell the reporter Jenn Frank was genuinely moved by it.

Melksham Comic Con

Melksham Comic Con is a small comic con returning for its second event in August 2013 after a successful Kick starter campaign.

(by the way Melksham is in Wiltshire… yeah, I had to look it up!)

We didn’t go to the inaugural event simply but I’ve read nothing but good press about it am astounded by the guests that they have already lined up. Look at this list, and this just the writers that jumped out for me!

Kieron Gillen – Current writer of top Marvel comics Iron Man and Young Avengers. Recent writer for Uncanny X-Men and the Thor title Journey Into Mystery before the recent Marvel NOW! Launch.

Simon Spurrier – Writer who works mainly on 2000AD, Simon has also broken through to the US comic industry and writes mainly for Marvel. Currently writer on X-Men Legacy in the new Marvel NOW! series.

Rob Williams – Writer, working mainly for 2000 AD. He has worked for Marvel Comics on X-Men and Deadpool titles, as well as Ghost Rider and Wolverine. In 2011, Rob signed an exclusive contract with Marvel. He has also written for Star Wars and RoboCop comic books.

The full list is here.

And better yet, as a not-for-profit event tickets are just £5.

So stick 31st August in your diaries!